Net gets stamps of approval

The Royal Mail is to begin testing ‘e-stamps’ that can be bought over the internet and printed off by customers in their home or office.

Royal Mail is to begin testing ‘e-stamps’ that can be bought over the internet and printed off by customers in their home or office.

The new system, which is being developed for Royal Mail by Lockheed Martin, would use advanced encryption technology to allow sorting machines to recognise genuine e-stamps from fakes via a digital postmark.

The system would even allow users to customise their stamps by incorporating a picture or company logo. The e-stamp could also carry useful information such as a return address. Lockheed Martin is designing it to work with common computing applications such as Microsoft Word and Excel.

Trials of the technology are due to begin in spring, with a roll-out to consumers planned for the end of the year.